Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flight-related Toilet Mishaps

[Tangent (is it a bad sign that I haven't even started writing the post, but I'm already on a tangent? Hold on tight, you're in for an erratic ride!): doesn't the word "mishap" look like it should be pronounced "mish-ap"? Some words are weird that way.]

So, while I'm NOT dying of pneumonia or the bubonic plague* (no buboes on me, thank heavens) and am also not able to use my voice, I've had some time to reflect on my flight-related toilet experiences.

Bathrooms loom large in my life experiences - as they probably do for everyone, if you are totally honest because, really, what's the most important thing after eating and sleeping? Emptying. It has to happen. If it doesn't happen - and the longer it doesn't happen - the more all-consuming (ooh - pun!) it becomes.

For example, if you were in urgent need to GO, you could be talking to a lawyer about inheriting Michael Jackson's estate and your brain would be all "Must go pee! Need toilet! Ignore boring law-speaker! Find toilet!"

So I happen to believe that toilet stories are both funny and universal, and I will share mine with you, since I do have some unique stories.

Story Number One: [hmm. "Number One" and "Number Two" might not be the best names for these .... Or maybe they are exactly the best ones!]

A long, long time ago, when the world was new and all, I was at Pearson International Airport waiting for my brother's plane to board. These were the days when flight attendants were stewardesses and would be fired if they weighed more than 95 pounds, when they still allowed smoking everywhere, and when the travellers who mattered were the businessmen.

I got bored and decided to check out the restrooms. I made a beeline for the nearest one, entered, and started freshening up my make-up in the smoked-glass mirror. (I was about 14 at the time; doing my make-up was what I did for fun.) This was made doubly difficult because of the dim "mood" lighting. I believe pop music was playing on the speakers. I half expected someone to come by with a bowl of peanuts and a cocktail.

Suddenly, I heard a deep, gruff voice. A masculine voice. I looked in the mirror where I saw a man looking at me over his shoulder. He said, "I think one of us is in the wrong room."

I skedaddled to the women's room, where I was greeted by harsh, bright fluorescent lighting and utilitarian mirrors. There may have been pop music, but there was certainly no intimation of cocktails.

Story Number Two:

I once flew on a custom-fitted airplane that had a window in the lav. The window was a standard airplane window, at about thigh height. It made that little restroom seem quite sophisticated. It also meant that the room was bright and perfect for - yes - freshening my makeup. (I guess makeup is still something I do for fun.)

So there I was, having used the toilet and washed my hands, and was reapplying my lipstick, when the door swung open! Because of the light from the window, I hadn't remembered to slide the lock which turns on the light. Fortunately, I was fully put together, but it was embarrassing nevertheless.

Story Number Three: The Worst One

I debated whether to tell you this one or not, mostly because I do something really idiotic in it. I was flying home on a business trip and had slid off my sandals. My feet were slightly swollen and I had chosen my shoes for looks rather than comfort. (Believe it or not, that is NOT the idiotic thing.) I needed to use the restroom and made a brief effort to find my shoes, but then decided to walk barefoot to the bathroom. THAT is the idiotic thing.

It wasn't until I stepped into the restroom that the full horror hit me: the floor. Was. Sticky.

Oh. My. God. Are men such macho-macho-I-will-pee-standing-up-because-I-can idiots that they will even do so while urinating into a teensy bowl during turbulence? YES! They ARE!

Did you know that those sinks are surprisingly small in comparison to a size 6 foot?

I do have other toilet stories. I should probably consider getting a companion dog to keep those things from happening.

* Caution: Wikipedia reference to the bubonic plague includes revolting photos.


  1. My best bathroom story was on a return flight from Brussels. I was sitting in the first row of the business section and while on final approach to land the guy sitting beside me decided to get up and go to the bathroom, I don't think he understood English and was not aware of our "locked down" situation - and the flight attendants didn't notice.

    It being Murphy's Law - it was by far the hardest landing I have ever experienced with the front of the plane slamming down on the tarmack - twice! During the taxi to the gate the flight attendant looked over at me and the empty seat beside me - and turned totally white when I pointed to the bathroom door.

    It took the guy quite some time to come out, I am sure he had to wipe the "blue" off his butt. I couldn't stop laughing picturing him bouncing around - butt was glad he wasn't injured.


  2. Just pray he was sitting down.

  3. Oh, and Andy, you were the brother we were seeing off, when you went to Europe with Jim.


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